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How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome at Work

Imposter syndrome might sound like something out of Marvel, but it’s a very real and problematic thing, especially in the workplace. Everyone struggles with their place at work sometimes. It’s not uncommon to question your abilities if a project doesn’t go the right way, or if you miss a deadline. But, there’s a difference between the occasional questioning and dealing with imposter syndrome.

At its very core, imposter syndrome is defined as doubting your abilities. You might even feel like a fraud when it comes to your career. Even if others perceive you as competent and successful, you don’t feel that way, and you might have a hard time accepting accolades or compliments.

Obviously, that can lead to a lack of motivation and productivity at work. More importantly, it can be a sign of something deeper going on beneath the surface. It’s not uncommon for people with imposter syndrome to feel insecure or have low self-esteem. With that in mind, let’s talk more about the different types of imposter syndrome, and how you can overcome it in the workplace.

What Are the Types of Imposter Syndrome?

Before you’re able to work through imposter syndrome, it’s important to know that it isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” issue. There are five different types of this syndrome that can impact people in different ways. Knowing more about each one will make it easier to combat your negative behaviors and start to see yourself in a more realistic light. The different types are:

  1. The Perfectionist – Making everything you do look as perfect as possible to cover up your fears of being an imposter. You might be considered a “control freak,” or you might have issues micromanaging anyone who works beneath you.
  2. The Superwoman/man – You push yourself well beyond what your limits should be to “measure up” to your co-workers.
  3. The Natural Genius – You set unrealistic expectations for yourself, and beat yourself up if you don’t achieve them perfectly.
  4. The Soloist – You believe asking for help is a “weakness,” and take on everything by yourself. You feel like asking someone for assistance will make them realize you’re a “fraud.”
  5. The Expert – You measure your success or your worth by how much you know. Unfortunately, you believe you should know everything about every work-related topic, which simply isn’t possible.

Do any of these sound familiar? If so, there’s good news – you can overcome any/all of them. In fact, recognizing which type of imposter syndrome you’re dealing with will make it easier to tackle your issue more directly.

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

So, what can you do to get past imposter syndrome and start to see reality? There’s really only one solution: Stop thinking like an imposter.

That might be easier said than done, of course, but there are plenty of strategies you can use to get there.

First, don’t be afraid to talk about how you’re feeling. Maybe you’re not comfortable sharing your feelings of fraud with your co-workers but tell someone. Knowing that imposter syndrome is a real problem can make it easier to open up. The more you talk about it, the more you’ll start to realize that the way you feel about yourself isn’t factual. That will make it easier to separate your feelings from facts.

Next, there are some potential qualities you can take from your “imposter syndrome” to boost your self-esteem and help you to feel more genuine. For example, if you’re a perfectionist, look at your skills and qualities. Wanting everything to be perfect means you have a genuine desire to do your best. That’s a positive attribute to have in the workplace! Focus more on your willingness to work hard, and less on the need for everything to be flawless.

Finally, if you’re really struggling with imposter syndrome and can’t figure out how to overcome it on your own, reach out for help. Feel free to contact us for more information or to set up an appointment. Together, we’ll work on more strategies that can help you work through any type of imposter syndrome, so you can be yourself and find success in the workplace – and in life.